You've Been Schooled

Students at Maynard Jackson High School take part in the Kingian Nonviolence Program, learning how to manage conflict, as part of Graduation Generation.
Bryan Meltz

Rick Rieder

Annemarie Poyo

Edible gardens, summer camps, studies in Chinese, and violin lessons—these are just a few of the ways fourteen-year-old Bianca McCrary, an eighth grader at Coan Middle School, has benefited from the Graduation Generation program.  “She makes mostly As, and wants to go to Emory and become a pediatrician with a minor in music, so that she can play music to soothe the kids. She has a plan,” says Bianca’s mom, Darlene McCrary.

Rick Rieder 83B, managing director and chief investment officer of fixed income alternatives for the investment management firm BlackRock and an Emory trustee, is passionate about urban educational improvement in the US. He pledged $1 million to establish a collaboration among Emory’s Center for Community Partnerships, Atlanta Public Schools, and Communities in Schools Atlanta organization, to help improve academic achievement and graduation rates.

The result was Graduation Generation, which started at Coan Middle School and extended to other schools in Atlanta’s Edgewood neighborhood, building on efforts already in place by support from the Zeist Foundation (founded by the late Emory pediatrician George W. Brumley Jr.).

“Many kids in urban communities are just as talented as those in suburban communities, but they don’t get the same chance to access quality education,” Rieder said in a recent interview.

The Center for Community Partnerships operates under the Office of the Provost, with offices in Decatur, where program staff and Emory student volunteers can be closer to those they serve. “Parents we talk to use the term ‘blessing,’ ” says Barbara Coble 11PhD, the program’s education partnerships manager.

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